Overview of the Department

A Center of Excellence

UB’s Political Science Department is a small research-oriented and
collegial department offering students an exceptional opportunity to
work closely with a world-class faculty. The department is especially noted for its strengths
in the empirical and formal areas of political science specializing
in four fields of political science: American Politics, International
Relations, Comparative Politics, and Public Law. These strengths are evident in both the department’s
graduate programs and its undergraduate program.

An Accomplished and Accessible Faculty

The Department’s stature as a center of excellence in political
science is reflected in the quality and reputation of its faculty.
Political Science Faculty have an extensive record of producing high
impact, theoretically and methodologically rigorous research, and
preparing graduate students to be successful researchers and
teachers at universities and colleges. The Department strives to be
at the cutting-edge of research, a leader in the scientific study of
politics and government. It is at the core of the University’s UB2020
strategic strength in civic engagement and public policy.
Faculty have published nearly 40 books with leading university
and commercial presses, more than 100 book chapters, and over
200 articles in scholarly journals. More than a third of the articles
have been in journals ranked among the top 25 in Political Science–
including the American Political Science Review, American Journal of
Political Science
, Journal of Politics, World Politics, Comparative
Political Studies
, Political Research Quarterly, Political Science
, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and International Studies
, among others.

A recent study of the research productivity of 400 political science
departments internationally ranked the Department in the top 11 percent
based on the number of journal publications per faculty member.
The national and international reputations of the faculty have been
recognized by their appointments to the editorial boards of 15 scholarly
journals and the Executive Councils of 10 national political science
organizations. Several faculty have held leadership positions in
national and international political science organizations and have
received national awards for their research. UB is among the leaders
of political science nationally.

For more information about the Department and its programs, we invite you to peruse our website and/or review our Department’s brochure (pdf). We also hope that you might consider supporting the Department’s mission of developing into a center of excellence in the study and teaching of political science. With the substantial budget cuts that the University has received from the state in recent months, your support is more important than ever. To make a direct contribution to the Department, return to the main page and click on the “Support the Department” link in the bottom left corner of the page–and thanks!

The History of UB’s Department of Political Science

A history of the Department is currently being written by Professor Claude Welch.  The completed chapters are posted below.  Click on each title to be connected to whole chapter.

Chapter 1- The context of private UB and SUNY’s creation

   The private ‘UB,’ 1846-1960 For the initial decades of its history, UB can best be viewed as a congeries of locally oriented professional schools, staffed largely by volunteer faculty drawn from area practitioners. Growth was gradual, responding to personal and group initiatives, rather than proceeding from a master plan.  Medicine was the first school established; it was created when practitioners from the Finger Lake area moved to the booming city on the Niagara River.
In this respect, UB differed from the more grandly entitled ‘University of Western New York,’ formally created in 1836. Millard Fillmore took a leading role in its establishment….

Chapter 2: Early years of the Department

To summarize the lessons of this chapter, the 1960s constituted an extraordinary period. Copious funding from New York State made massive faculty recruitment possible. The rate of growth was dizzying. Well-established figures in the discipline and newly-minted PhD recipients joined the Department…

Chapter 3: Multiple Homes

A challenge the Department frequently encountered in its first thirty years was its regular uprooting. As the number of faculty and students grew, UB sequentially transferred several non-Health Sciences related academic operations from Main Street, to interim facilities in an Amherst office park, to three different locations on the Amherst campus….

Exteriors of Park Hall on North Campus Photographer: Douglas Levere

The Department of Political Science at UB came into being in the 1962-63 academic year.

Political Science faculty had previously been part of the

Department of History and Government.

Below are posted the faculty rosters of the Department since its creation in 1962. These data have been assembled by Professor John Lane, one of the four original faculty members of the Department and a former Chairman of the Department.

Faculty listed alphabetically (excel)

Faculty rosters chronologically in five year blocks (pdf) (updated through 2016-17)

The Department was housed in a number of locations before its current residence on the fourth and fifth floors of Park Hall on UB’s North Campus. Below are several photographs taken by Professor Claude Welch of the earlier homes of the Department– in several cases, literally residential houses. These are from top to bottom: 138 Winspear Avenue, 142 Winspear Avenue, the Butler Temporary Annex, and 4238 Ridge Lea.


Photographic credit: Claude Welch.